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Mixed herb pesto

Pestos are a perfect and delicious way to increase the nutrient density of meals. These ingredients offer an all-important micronutrient bomb that provides the body with the major nutrients it needs to function at its best.. Micronutrients are a combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant substances that play key roles in immunity, energy production, joint and bone health and recovery to name a few.

Add the pesto to salads, mixed vegetables, yoghurt dips, sandwiches or pasta dishes and other grains.

Ingredients

  • Combination of fresh herbs (15 g coriander; 15 g parsley; 25 g basil)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 70ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 g almonds
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Chop up the almonds and roast them in a pan with no oil until brown. Wash the herbs and remove the stems. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Not only do fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil provide a burst of flavour to food, allowing you to cut back on salt intake, they are also packed with protective antioxidants. Antioxidants are needed to protect body cells from large amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are naturally produced during exercise and periods of stress or alcohol use. Although ROS is needed acutely when there is an imbalance of ROS to antioxidant supply, oxidative stress and inflammation occur (1) (2).

Research has shown that antioxidant supplementation by athletes may negatively implicate training adaptations if taken as a recovery strategy. While this may be true for supplements, antioxidants derived from plant compounds have shown to be more beneficial and may help speed up recovery without interfering with adaptive processes (3).

References:

  1. Kawamura, T., & Muraoka, I. (2018). Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress and the Effects of Antioxidant Intake from a Physiological Viewpoint. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 7(9).
  2. Hadžović-Džuvo, A., Valjevac, A., Lepara, O., Pjanić, S., Hadžimuratović, A., & Mekić, A. (2014). Oxidative stress status in elite athletes engaged in different sport disciplines. Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 14(2), 56–62. 
  3. Pingitore, A., Lima, G. P. P., Mastorci, F., Quinones, A., Iervasi, G., & Vassalle, C. (2015). Exercise and oxidative stress: Potential effects of antioxidant dietary strategies in sports. Nutrition,31(7–8), 916–922.